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Following Leads and Finding Jobs like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D

Worldbuilding through Language in 5E D&D
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If you’ve been following along with this series on creating a bounty hunter campaign inspired by The Mandalorian for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons you’ll notice I’ve mentioned a book called Remarkable Inns several times. This nearly 90 page resource details 8 distinct taverns and inns with wonderful detail along with tips and options for developing your own memorable establishments and everything that goes on within. When I prepped for the first session of our 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign, Remarkable Inns became an important tool for worldbuilding and providing an avenue to two very different paths the bounty hunting characters could take to begin their first contract. Let’s get into it.

Mandalorian 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign

Bounty hunting like The Mandalorian in 5E D&D

If you want to get caught up on where we’re at with our 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign inspired by The Mandalorian, here’s the previous entries in this series.

Providing options to characters is an important element for me when preparing adventures. More often than not players choose a different path than anything I plan or anticipate, but I have found if I present several options it mitigates the situation. When I got ready for the first session of the Mandalorian style 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign the premise was clear: characters were part of a bounty hunter guild and they took a contract to track down a wealthy family’s son-in-law to be, who had been kidnapped.

The characters learned of the young man’s last known location, a sophisticated northern city. He was there with friends on a ski trip. A gang of ruffians violently assaulted the group, robbed them and kidnapped the target, a half-elf upper cruster. Bereft of funds the group of friends (hangers-on really) made their way to a seedy harbor city on the opposite coast. The group’s employer arranged for passage aboard a ship to the northern region and I asked the players which city they preferred to begin their job.

One of the things I enjoy about watching The Mandalorian is all the different places the character visits, in particular the cantinas, bars and other establishments. In the very first scene of the show, Mando’s bounty puck leads him to a rough and tumble bar where he gets into a scrape with some ruffians and finds his quarry. Throughout the series the titular bounty hunter visits different establishments on several worlds. Inns, taverns, bars and the like make for excellent places to discover information, find work, get a lay of the land or simply lay low for a time.

I knew no matter where the party chose to disembark, their bounty hunting would lead them to a tavern in either city. If they opted for the sophisticated port, they’d have to navigate a more urbane scenario. By contrast the seedy harbor meant a more churlish experience. Distinguishing each destination started with their respective inns, which would be the last places any involved people were seen. As an added bonus, the players’ choice would tell me what kind of group this fresh party of bounty hunters in a new campaign intended to be. Were they going to be smooth operators, tracking their quarry through high society? Or would they take a coarser route and confront situations a bit more ruthlessly?

They chose the latter.

Enter Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks

I found the inspiration I needed for worldbuilding and adventure prep inside LoreSmyth’s Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks. Resources like this are indispensable for me as a Dungeon Master. I enjoy worldbuilding in a more procedural way, starting with only a handful of elements and developing things as a campaign progresses. With Remarkable Inns I could take two of the establishments and use them as the foundation for each of the different possible destinations where the group could begin their adventure.

The very first entry in the book, Whitewoods Inn provided a ton of useful details I could weave into my own material. Each establishment in the book outlines the proprietor, notable patrons and staff, rumors, a menu of specialties, particulars about the look and feel of the place and possible adventure hooks. Perfect! Since this upper class port city was well-ordered and a civilized I determined social skills like Deception, Persuasion and Intimidation would be effective. The colorful NPCs in the book would have their own perspective and knowledge of the kidnapping, and if characters played their cards right they’d get a solid lead and an important tip to help them avoid potential danger ahead. The additional details for Whitewoods Inn helped me develop more about the city like what sort of people live there, what the architecture was like and the general feel of the place.

By contrast The King’s Coin in the seedy harbor town helped me create a much different atmosphere. Simply finding the place became a task, and the players spent some time exploring the social pillar of 5E D&D just to learn how to locate and enter the place where they might find more information. I love the flavor text at the beginning of The King’s Coin entry in Remarkable Inns:

“It’s in an alley across from the Cooper’s shop, hidden by a set of stairs that lead to a blue door. Knock three times and speak the words: ‘The king’s coin keeps the king’s purse heavy.’ Once inside, go to the bar and ask the barkeep for a Blue Maiden. After you pay, he will escort you to the meeting room.” — Sillustyn, Syndicate Initiate

Not only is this fantastic descriptive text, it’s loaded with details to fold into the bounty hunter campaign through worldbuilding. I get the sense folks in this city don’t exactly swear undying fealty to a crown, for starters. There’s also some sort of Syndicate, definitely something to develop into a criminal organization. And the tip about ordering a Blue Maiden is a wonderful touch once you read through the rest of the entry for The King’s Coin. I won’t spoil it but I will say what a character orders at the bar suggests something more than a drink. Purple worm wine appealed to the characters in our group, and almost lead to a confrontation because of a misunderstanding.

Every entry of Remarkable Inns includes tons of little details like these. Some of the most fun I have as a Dungeon Master comes when players get immersed and interact with the world, whether it’s related to their adventure or not. When adventurers are on the job, the players know they’re pursuing a goal and to some extent engaging with the content you’ve prepared for them. But in situations like visiting a tavern, the whole group has a terrific opportunity to bring the campaign setting to life in a unique way. The NPCs characters talk with, clues and rumors they hear, food and drinks they try and even architecture helps paint the world in vivid color.

Once you’ve placed all the established places from Remarkable Inns in your campaign setting, the back half of the book guides you to create your own unique locations. There’s really great material on developing the disposition of an inn and how characters can affect it, along with the proprietor’s authority and influence and suggestions for events to take place inside. In addition there’s all kinds of menu items from mundane to magical, plus services you can make available at your inns like a retired Battle Master who might teach a new combat technique.

Ready to run a bounty hunter campaign?

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opening this week on Dec. 20, this week’s episode of The Mandalorian releases on Wednesday instead of Friday, and I’ll be sure to watch the heck out of it because it’s awesome and also for new ideas to develop the 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign. I’ve been having a blast exploring all the awesome products available from the Nord Games store and folding them into my worldbuilding and session prep.

Remarkable Inns became a crucial part of planning, and through player interaction with The King’s Coin they made huge strides in developing the setting and their own place within the world, as well as making enormous gains in their characters’ reputation as bad ass bounty hunters. With so much great material in this book I feel like it’s destined for the go-to shelf for me as a DM.

If you want to check out LoreSmyth’s Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Inns & Their Drinks, visit the Nord Games store here. You can use our exclusive promo code NORDARCHY20 to get a huge 20% off everything in your cart! Nord Games creates great products and accessories to help you create amazing experiences for your games. Nord Games continues to improve with every product and their retail partners are rock solid too. Anytime I discover a resource that takes some of the work out of DM prep while inspiring me to add my own creations is a big win.

What do you think? Are you enjoying The Mandalorian as much as me? Have you started your own 5E D&D bounty hunter campaign? I’m having so much fun developing this campaign using products from the Nord Games store. There’s only a couple of episodes left this season, but we’ve already shared more posts than there are chapters with the publication of this entry so I might as well keep it going after the season ends, right? This is the way.

Until then, stay nerdy!

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Doug Vehovec

Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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